JOAN GEHRKE:
 
JOAN GEHRKE




 
 
 
 
 
Chairperson of the Board of the St. John Hospital Foundation in Detroit. Gehrke is also a part-time consultant at Detroit-based PVS Chemicals, Inc., where she was previously director of community relations. Gehrke’s community involvement spans more than 35 years. As the founding chair of the St. John Hospital Foundation, she helped develop the initial board and direction, and led the raising of more than $30 million in its first major capital campaign. During the past two years, Gehrke has led efforts to raise about $10 million a year for equipment and the expansion of St. John hospitals. She is also currently a board member of United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Belle Isle Women’s Committee. She has received the Hospice of Michigan’s Volunteer of the Year Award, the Heart of Gold award from United Way Community Services, the Detroit City Council’s Spirit of Detroit Award, Crain’s Detroit Business Health Care Hero Award, and the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the National Association of Fundraising Professionals. Her other volunteer commitments include the College for Creative Studies, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and the Chandler Park Promise Coalition. Gehrke’s past board positions include the Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Science Center, St. John Health Care, Warren/Connor Development Coalition, United Community Services, the Junior League of Detroit (past president), the Grosse Pointe Academy, Central Business District Association, and Grosse Pointe South Mother’s Club (past president). Gehrke also has chaired many fund-raising events and committees. Previously, she was director of regional public policy at the Detroit Regional Chamber and worked at the National Bank of Detroit, San Francisco State University, and NASA. Gehrke earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in political science from Creighton University and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit VIII.


WHERE BORN: “Lincoln, Neb.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My father-in-law. He was very active and a leader in the community when I moved here. He taught me how to love Detroit and how to make a difference.”

LAST BOOK READ:“I frequently read more than one at a time. Now I’m reading Tony Blair’s new book A Journey: My Political Life.

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Dedicated, determined, optimistic, always up for a challenge.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Philanthropy has already become crucial in health care and with recent economic issues will continue to become more important. We have to do more with less and decreased reimbursements. Philanthropy will be critical to continue excellence, particularly in the near term.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I’m not really a techie but I do depend on my BlackBerry.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “It’s a toss-up between Washington, D.C., or Florence, Italy.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Reading, tennis, crossword puzzles, sudokos, and politics.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Macaroni and cheese, and I don’t care who knows. It’s my favorite.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “My husband thinks I’m a really good cook.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “She was a good person, she kept her word, was respected, believed in others, and helped to make a difference.”


At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.